kin of mumbai attack victims welcome

Relatives of victims of the 2008 Mumbai attack victims on Wednesday welcomed the execution of the lone surviving attacker, Ajmal Kasab, saying justice has been finally delivered. In Varanasi, Sunita Yadav, wife of victim Upendra Yadav, expressed her gratitude to the authorities for carrying out the execution.

Daily Bollywood News:Bipasha Basu - Bollywood will remain a hero-centric business

Women are active in show business like never before, but will they surpass the status Bollywood heroes enjoy? Never, says Bipasha Basu, who feels there is minimum opportunity for female actors in the Hindi film industry

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Saturday, March 7, 2009

Gene Explains How High-Fructose Diets Lead to Insulin Resistance


Corn syrup more easily metabolizes to fat in liver, which may trigger disease, study says.



Researchers found that mice fed a high-fructose diet were protected from insulin resistance when PGC-1b activity was blocked in the rodents' liver and fat tissue. The findings were published in the March issue of Cell Metabolism.

"There has been a remarkable increase in consumption of high-fructose corn syrup," Gerald Shulman, of the Yale School of Medicine, said in a journal news release. "Fructose is much more readily metabolized to fat in the liver than glucose is, and, in the process, can lead to nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)," which, in turn, leads to hepatic insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

High-fructose corn syrup -- a mixture of the simple sugars fructose and glucose -- came into use in the 1970s. By 2005, the average American consumed about 60 pounds of high-fructose corn syrup a year.

The study authors said their findings indicate that PGC-1b plays an important role in the development of fructose-induced insulin resistance. The gene may offer a target for new drugs to treat insulin resistance, NAFLD and hypertriglyceridemia, they concluded.

In an accompanying commentary, two experts said the study shows that PGC-1b is "a missing link between fructose intake and metabolic disorders."

"The findings ... support the emerging role of gene/environment interaction in modulating the metabolic phenotype and disease pathogenesis. Thus, perturbations of the same regulatory motif may produce vastly different metabolic responses, depending on the specific combinations of dietary nutrients," wrote Carlos Hernandez and Jiandie Lin of the University of Michigan Medical Center, in Ann Arbor.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Teens Undertreated for Substance Abuse


Therapy gap likely driven by limited availability of adolescent-only services, researchers say.



"Part of this treatment gap may be driven by the limited availability of adolescent-only treatment services. Less than one-third of addiction programs in the U.S. have a specialized program for adolescents," study author Hannah Knudsen, of the University of Kentucky, said in a news release from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which funded the research.

"Despite the public health significance of adolescent substance abuse and the knowledge that treatment can be effective for this group, services for them are less available than for adults. It means we lose our chance at early intervention, and that families may be unable to find services for their children in their communities," Knudsen said.

She also found wide variations in quality among the randomly selected 154 addiction treatment programs for teens she studied. Knudsen analyzed nine areas of quality, including whether families are encouraged to be involved in a teen's treatment process and whether a program offers a range of comprehensive services. Only a small number of the programs scored high in each area, and most received a medium score in overall quality.

"The lack of comprehensive services in substance abuse programs for teens raises questions about whether teens will get what they need, since we know they are likely to have co-occurring psychiatric conditions and to engage in HIV-risk behaviors," Knudsen said.

She noted that quality scores tended to be higher for programs that offered more intensive treatment services, such as residential or inpatient treatment. But only 30 percent of programs offered such services.

"For parents who are looking for high-quality programs that offer the most comprehensive array of services, a good proxy indicator is whether that organization has an inpatient or residential level of care," Knudsen said.

The study was published in the March issue of the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment.

More information

The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has more about substance abuse programs for teens.

Gene Variant Allies Autism, Gastrointestinal Woes


It's associated with both brain development and GI system functions, study finds.



"This association was not present in another group who have autism and don't have gastrointestinal problems," said study author Dr. Daniel B. Campbell, a research assistant professor of pharmacology at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. "We think we're subdividing types of autism in a way that's finally useful."

The report was published in the March issue of Pediatrics.

Autism is widely recognized to be not one condition, but a collection of very heterogeneous disorders. Many prefer to use the term "autism spectrum disorders" (ASD) to describe the variety.

Several studies have now shown an association between ASD and this specific genetic variant.

The study authors put this together with the fact that 30 percent to 70 percent of children with autism have GI problems and the fact that the MET C gene is involved with both brain development and how the GI system functions.

"It's involved in how well it repairs itself, how well it responds to insults, taking in foods that upset the stomach," Campbell explained. "We wondered if this MET gene variant that we'd identified two years ago might be involved specifically in a subset of these patients who have both autism and a GI problem."

The authors looked at medical histories and genetic profiles of 918 individuals with autism from 214 families.

The MET C allele was linked with autism spectrum disorder and GI problems in 118 families who had at least one child with both conditions.

No such link was found in the remaining 96 families who did not have a child with both autism and GI conditions.

"It looks like this particular genetic variation affects cellular processes in the brain during development and in the gut for your whole life," said Keith Young, vice chair for research for the department of psychiatry and behavioral science at Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine and neuroimaging and genetics core leader at VA Center of Excellence for Research on Returning War Veterans, part of the Central Texas Veterans Health Care System.

"What we predict is going to happen is that other genes that provide proteins for this pathway might be affected in those families, so they're not going to show up with a gut problem, but they can still get autism," continued Young, who was recently named chair of the Tissue Advisory Board for Autism Speaks, a group that aims to increase awareness about autism and to fund research into the disorder. "The long-term importance of this is it's providing information about this cellular pathway where we can start looking to find out what it has to do with development. . . This gene is found more in social parts of the brain."

This line of research may turn up targets for new drugs.

Although the finding is not likely to change the lives of individuals with autism in the near future, Campbell said, "It's important for the public to know that GI problems are present in autism. And in this particular set of individuals who have problems with communication, it's not always that obvious that they have GI problems. Often they can't say, 'My tummy hurts.' They have to find other ways to express that, and it's not always productive."

Monday, March 2, 2009

Across All Cultures, Dreams Affect Behavior


They may rarely predict future events, but most people believe they are meaningful.

"Psychologists' interpretations of the meaning of dreams vary widely," lead author Carey Morewedge, an assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon University, said in an American Psychological Association news release. "But our research shows that people believe their dreams provide meaningful insight into themselves and their world."

For example, 149 university students in the United States, India and South Korea in one survey largely agreed that hidden truths present themselves in their dreams, a theory a nationally representative sample of Americans also supports.

Dreams also affect how people act when they awake, another study found. A survey of Boston train commuters found that when they dreamed of a plane crash the night before a scheduled air trip, they would be more likely to change their travel plans than if they had had a dream about an increased terrorist threat or consciously thought about their plane crashing. Dreaming about a plane crash also caused them as much anxiety as would a plane disaster actually occurring on their planned route shortly before their trip.

While most people said dreams rarely predict future events, they still found them meaningful, even if they were uneventful or plain bizarre, Morewedge said.

Not all dreams are equal, though. When asked to recall a dream about a person they knew, 270 Americans taking an online survey gave more significance to pleasant dreams about someone they liked than bad dreams about someone they didn't like.

"In other words, people attribute meaning to dreams when it corresponds with their pre-existing beliefs and desires," Morewedge said.

Travel Safety Can Be a Passport to Good Health


Just because it's a resort, doesn't mean precautions should be abandoned, experts note

"Just because it says resort or five-star hotel doesn't mean it's safe," Laura Gonzalez, a nurse with The Loyola University Health System International Medicine and Travelers Immunization Clinic, said in a news release issued by the school. "You still need to watch what you eat, protect against insect bites and don't go out at night alone."

The clinic offers these tips to help all travelers, regardless of their destination:

* Practice good hygiene. Hand washing is critical. Rather than packing gels, bring sanitizing wipes so eating utensils can be wiped as well as your hands.

* Bring or buy clothing and items to help protect yourself from insect and animal bites.

* When going to new time zones or high altitude destinations, drink plenty of water and stay rested.

* Watch what you drink and eat. In developing nations, avoid drinking tap water and using ice cubes in your beverages. In general, avoid buffets, and make sure meats and vegetables are thoroughly cooked. If you do develop diarrhea, treat with fluids, anti-motility agents and, when needed, antibiotics.

* Minimize your risk. Leave expensive items home; avoid traveling alone, especially at night; use alcohol in moderation, and avoid risky behaviors such as getting tattoos, using drugs and having acupuncture.

* When in the tropics, avoid swimming in fresh water.